Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru. Zoku Episode 13 [Final Impression]
“Yuigahama Yui is a nice girl.”
As this season comes to a close, it’s only right that we end off by focusing on Hikki, Yukinon and Yui. In particular, there was a lot of Yui, which affirmed the implication that Yukinon isn’t the only one dealing with a complex swirl of emotions, although they may not exactly be family-related. I do think Yui is a nice girl – I know Hikki said that this ‘image’ he’s had of her has been broken down, but it’s not completely gone. Yui is still an awfully kind girl, and she’s an angel in comparison to someone like Haruno.
In spite of knowing what she wants, as I said last week, she keeps Yukinon in mind – when inviting Hikki out on a date to the aquarium, Yukinon is invited along as well. When she’s gifted some cookies from Yukinon, she tentatively asks if there are any for Hikki too – perhaps even knowing that her cookies were just a pretext towards giving some to Hikki. It’s like how she even thought of the animals and didn’t opt to pet the ray for too long. Yui is wary of estranging Yukinon if she pursues her feelings, and it’d be almost cruel to disrupt the relatively calm status quo between the three of them at a time when Yukinon is having so much trouble with her family. It’s not all selfless though – in fact, you could say that wanting to keep what she has with a friend like Yukinon is a selfish decision. And in presenting her thank-you cookies to Hikki right in front of Yukinon, she essentially challenged her to act, which Yukinon almost gave in to until Hikki put a stop to it. I guess he really is serious about this whole ‘genuine’ thing – after all, it wouldn’t be genuine at all if Yui is orchestrating it all.
I do wonder who he’s leaning towards – it feels like the sort of story that would actually come to some sort of conclusion. If we put aside both the oddly alluring Irohasu route, I’m objectively leaning towards Yukinon. It might partially be prejudice over the ‘first girl’ often winning, but I think he does feel something for her – even when she left him and Yui alone after reading about the penguins, Hikki followed her inside regardless. My head thinks Yukinon, but my heart would go with Yui. They even played the Yui Ballade version of Hello Alone, that was both beautiful and depressing at the same time. Or hey, maybe Yui supports polygamy. If she actually wants to preserve the status quo forever, that’s the only route, right?
I guess Hikki will benefit from a happy, drama-free family life if he gets with Yui. Her mother is hilarious, she’s as amazing as Yukinon’s is frustrating. And don’t get me started on Haruno, it’s like beating a dead horse by now. I can’t believe she turned up to pick Yukino up from school. I mean, she’s in high school – doesn’t Haruno have a job or something, as a member of society? Her words are true, yes, and she even managed to guess when Hikki saves her, but poor Yukinon is struggling here. Haruno is making things worse, how the hell is her constant passive-aggressive public shaming going to help Yukinon at all? I really loved that silent exchange between the three outside the school gates by the way, that practically summed up their entire relationship without a single word being spoken. Hikki was about to go off, and Yukinon wants to give him the cookies, but was wary of doing so in front of Yui. So Yui tries to leave – she’s a nice girl, and for her own sake it’s not like she wants to see them getting closer, either. But Yukinon benefits from her support, too, so she gives her this terrified look of betrayal. Yui faces her with an expression that says, ‘so what am I supposed to do?!’ and voices it all – “What do we do about this?”
Hikki, Yukinon and Yui still don’t know what they’ll do. But now, they’ve come closer to figuring out what they want. I think this was a great season of Oregairu. It’s odd, but it’s one of the very few times where I’ve actually regarded a sequel as being better than it’s original season – usually, unplanned sequels fall short of expectations and sometimes end up never amounting to anything (see Nisekoi). But like with it’s content, Oregairu breaks the mold. And that’s a good thing. In many ways, the first season merely set things up for a larger plot to unfold – things like the summer camp with Rumi and the school festival with Sagami ended up being examples of Hikki’s self-destructive tendencies, with the true turbulence occurring within the Service Club itself – with the relationships Hikki ends up admitting he wants to treasure the most. I’m also really glad that Feel ended up changing the character designs in the way they did – I remember worrying about them at the start of the season, but now I can’t imagine these characters in any other way. It was a really successful second season.
And I really liked it. I don’t actually have much to say, especially as I’ve already said quite a lot pretty much every week, but I had a lot of fun musing about the various things that happened. So many scenes were memorable – the ‘genuine’ speech tops the list, but you’ve also got that scene where Yukinon destroys Tamanawa, the ‘break-up’ scene with Yukinon in the snow, lots of Yui scenes (‘Hikki wa ganbatta~!’ and ‘bye bye, Hikki’ come to mind) and of course, pretty much every single Iroha scene ever. If you’re somehow reading this without having actually watched any of this at all, I can’t recommend it enough – I certainly sympathized, and at the very least it’ll give you some food for thought on society and relationships. And there are lots of cute girls, even if half of them have questionable personalities.
That scene where Yukinon passes Hikki the plate of cookies though. God that was cute.